top of page

This Day in Science Fiction History: 2 July

Fictional Entry—Tuesday, July 2, 1996

Scene from Independence Day where the City Destroyer invasion saucers depart from the mothership above Earth.
City Destroyers depart from the mothership above Earth. (© 20th Century Fox 1996)

Sometimes it’s hard to believe humans believed they were alone in the universe. Hubris. It’s the only explanation I can figure out. Look back at the Bible. Makes things sound like Earth was some special place and everything else had been created for humans to look at. Heck, some guy named Drake even created a mathematical formula to “prove” there weren’t any intelligent aliens. That July 2nd proved everyone wrong.


Well, not everyone. Plenty of individuals had claimed there were aliens. Some were crackpots claiming to have been taken away and probed. Some said they’d only seen the ships. There was a group of real scientists who believed in it, creating a study called SETI to prove it. They weren’t successful. The final group of believers were science fiction writers, crafting tales of aliens both good and evil. Unfortunately for them, turned out the first ones we ran into were of the evil variety.


They showed up coming from behind the moon. No signals or greetings, just a massive ship appearing in the sky. The ship was over 550 kilometers in length and had a gravitational mass roughly a quarter of the moon’s. Huge barely describes it. Thing slid into orbit, destroying several satellites and really messing up television signals.


That wasn’t the thing most of us noticed. Right after it began to orbit, the mothership released 36 saucers, what the press would later call City Destroyers. Which is a good name for the blasted things. These ships flew all over the world, coming to rest above cities like New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, and Tokyo. I remember watching the live videos as the ship over New York slid out of an angry red cloud, superheated atmosphere that shrouded it until it came to a hover over the old Empire State Building.


Then we waited. Waited for some signal from the ships. Nothing. Not a peep. By that time, the television and internet signals were getting kinda fuzzy. People older than me say it reminded them of when you had to whack a television or mess with the antenna to get a decent picture. In the end, it didn’t matter.


Must have been around ten at night here when the ships all opened up their undersides. The television showed a bright bluish light appearing, then nothing. Of course there was nothing. The City Destroyers were living up to their names. Damn aliens.


The War of ’96 had begun.

Independence Day

Motion Picture

20th Century Fox



This Day in Science Fiction History examines notable events, real and fictional, concerning fantasy and science fiction in various media.


bottom of page